Archive for January, 2010

January 30, 2010

Connecting Teachers to Classrooms with Adobe Connect

Recently an intrepid group of teachers in Palm Beach County undertook a remarkable journey–a 6 day canoe expedition through the northern reaches of the Florida Everglades. Sponsored by a local environmental group, the Arthur Marshall Foundation, these teachers and their guides paddled from the north shore of Lake Okeechobee to the Grassy Waters Nature Preserve in West Palm Beach as a means to draw attention to the ongoing battle to preserve the natural areas that once predominated in South Florida, but that have been lost to development and agriculture.
As fascinating as the trip was, the teachers were able to interact with their students and with others around our school district while in the Everglades. Armed only with an inexpensive netbook computer, a wireless cellular aircard, and an Adobe Connect virtual classroom, the teachers spoke with their students each morning and answered their questions–making the experience one that hundreds of students could share and one that took the idea of a teachable moment to whole new levels.
In the 6 minute video below the teachers and students relate what the experience was like for them, and once again demonstrate how powerful technology can be when placed in the hands of talented educators.

5:21 AM Permalink
January 25, 2010

Education and New Media Collaborative Conference Application

The University of Denver Center for Teaching and Learning is holding a conference this Friday the 29th on “Education and New Media“. We are going to be streaming two keynotes by Michael Wesch live via Flash Media Server and invite you all to attend the discussion through a special app built for the conference that incorporates the live FMS stream, conference Twitter feed, and Google Analytics.
Remote participants can log in and post to the feed via the app – built entirely in Flash:
The idea behind this app is that conference participants (and those from afar who have interest in the keynotes) will be able to participate in a collaborative conversation through the Twitter feed while watching the keynote all through a single interface.
To accomplish this, I’ve employed Sandro Ducceschi’s very cool Tweetr AS3 Library for interfacing with the Twitter API. This is employed for both pulling all tweets marked with “#CTL2010” and allowing users to authenticate into Twitter and post directly from the app. The feed is refreshed every 60 seconds.
On the video side of things, we have employed the university’s Flash Media Servers and are tracking stats via Google Analytics Event Tracking API (which I have previously presented about for FITC). This results in a really nice (and functional!) showcase piece for using new media through the integration of a variety of systems and services.
To tie it all together, we’re using the open source Flex 4 framework and have made heavy use of the new Spark component set. The open source Text Layout Framework is used to render tweets along with my TwitterString class to interpret links, hashtags, and usernames.
I invite everyone to please spread the word about the conference stream. We’d like to have as many people participate in the discussion as possible!
Information about the conference follows:

The University of Denver is hosting an Education and New Media conference on Friday, January 29, 2010. We are very excited to have Michael Wesch as our keynote speaker. You are invited to join us for his keynote sessions via a live video stream. Virtual participants will have the ability to ask questions and share their comments via Twitter.
Michael’s morning keynote begins at approximately 8:30 and is titled, “How can we create students who can create meaningfully connections?” The afternoon keynote will begin around 12:15 pm and is titled, “Making connections: Experiments in Learning with New Media.”
Visit the conference webpage for more information and please feel free to share this invitation with your colleagues.
Information about how to the access the video stream will be posted here soon.

Please spread the word!

4:29 PM Permalink

Adobe WorkflowLab

Adobe recently released a new Air application that “provides an easy way to learn about, track and share workflow best practices.” WorkFlowLab provides a collaborative environment that will allow designers, developers, and project managers to communicate and share workflows.
I imagine that students could use WorkflowLab to help manage their classroom multimedia projects (think an interactive Gantt chart) …and heck, it’s free!

6:58 AM Permalink
January 20, 2010

SoDA 2010 Digital Marketing Outlook

“What you’ll find in the pages that follow is the output from the 2010 Digital Marketing Outlook survey which polled in excess of a thousand executives from major global brands, traditional and Digital agencies, vendor and service providers that operate in the Digital space, as well as freelance and independent Digital practitioners. The research has confirmed our outlook: many believe the future of Digital Marketing is exceptionally bright.”
Check out page 10:
Skillsets 2010
Compared with last year’s report:

  • Flash is still around 80%
  • ActionScript is down a bit near 60%

Still an overall great showing for the platform, especially when compared with similar technologies.
Grab the full report.

3:24 PM Permalink
January 7, 2010

Flash Player on Mobile Devices

Walk down any high school or junior high hall and you will notice how popular mobile devices are. It seems that just about every kid has access to a “smart phone.” However, students have been unable to access engaging and rich web content delivered in the Flash format. This is starting to change.
Recent releases of certain mobile devices are realizing how much content is delivered via the Flash format (over 80% of web video is distributed as Flash video) and will, in the near future, support Flash Player 10.1. Students that carry smart phones that include Flash Player 10.1 will be able to visit sites like National Geographic and Brain Pop (just to name a few) and teachers will gain an exciting instructional delivery tool!
Read more…

6:21 AM Permalink
January 2, 2010

Teachers in Europe believe that creativity is fundamentally important at school and that ICT can help enhance it

The European Commission has presented the results of the first-ever survey on creativity and innovation in schools. The results show that 94% of European teachers believe creativity is a fundamental competence to be developed at school, and 88% are convinced that everyone can be creative. In order to achieve that, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are considered very important among teachers (80%): computers, educational software, videos, online collaborative tools, virtual learning environments, interactive whiteboards, and free online material and courses. These results were presented at the Closing Conference of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation in Stockholm, 16 – 17 December.
An overwhelming majority of teachers believe that creativity can be applied to every domain of knowledge and to every school subject (95.5%). They do not see creativity as being only relevant for intrinsically creative subjects such as the arts, music or drama. According to this research, this is of paramount importance for the development of creative thinking as a transversal skill. Creative learning entails a component of curiosity, analysis, and imagination, accompanied by critical and strategic thinking. However, even when the majority of teachers believe everyone can be creative (88%), and that creativity is not solely a characteristic of ’eminent’ people (80%), the conditions for favouring creativity are not always available in schools in Europe.
On average, half of European teachers believe that creativity plays an important role in their curriculum, and about a quarter consider that it does not. The perception of the role and relevance of creativity in the curriculum varies considerably between countries: 3 in 4 teachers in Italy, Latvia, and the United Kingdom are particularly convinced of the central role that creativity has in their national curricula. In contrast, less than 50% of teachers from Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, Hungary, France and Estonia consider that creativity plays an important role in their national education system.
Training in innovative pedagogies or methods seems to be widespread in Europe. Six out of ten teachers declare that they have received training in innovative pedagogies, compared to a lower number of 4 out of 10 teachers who claim to have received training in creativity. Those who state that they received training in ICT in the classroom are only 36%. At a national level, the highest percentages are found in Romania (67%) and Latvia (66%), while he lowest were found in Germany (20%) and Belgium (21%).
The first aim of the survey has been to understand how teachers in Europe frame and conceptualise creativity. The second has been to collect information on the support they receive and need to foster students’ creativity. This is the first time that a survey has collected such a high number of teachers’ opinions from 32 European countries. For the purposes of the closing conference on the European Year of Creativity and Innovation, only responses from the 27 Member States of the European Union have been analysed, amounting to a total of 9 460 responses. More in-depth analysis will follow in the course of 2010 but the preliminary results presented already provide an excellent starting point to feed into future educational policy that develops learning and teaching processes in more creative and innovative ways.
The survey was launched by European Schoolnet (EUN), a network of 31 Ministries of Education in Europe and beyond, together with the Joint Research Centre’s Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) with the support of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture.
More information

1:23 PM Permalink